A few days ago, we broke the news that one of the Chibok girls, Amina Ali Nkeki, had been found alive just on the edge of the Sambisa forest. With very little to go on at the time, we dared to hope this to be true.
Turns out, true it was. It would seem this young lady ended up strolling out of this ‘evil forest’ – riddled as we were made to believe with land mines and dense forestry, where grown men and gods fear to tread. And she ended up doing it with a baby on her back too; apparently borne for one of the Boko Haram kidnappers and murderers who took these girls in the dead of the night some two years ago.
Since that happened, we have seen pictures in international media of the young girl and her child alongside Buhari cooing over the baby like a doting grandfather.
In that time, the rumour mill has been awash with speculation that the man standing beside Ali Nkeki is her Boko Haram husband.
I had a knee-jerk reaction to that news where I questioned the sanity of the people spreading those rumours. President Buhari is firstly an army general before a civilian. You must be all kinds of stupid to think the fact that he is donning an agbada would make him stand in the same room with the enemy and take pictures with him.
But then I had a rethink. True, that is not the Boko Haram baby daddy, but why is there even the need for a photo op?
A perfunctory shot of the girl to show proof of life as she is led away by the police should have been sufficient. She should have been immediately given over to her mother’s house (should she wish to return there – she left a 17-year-old girl, and has returned a 19-year-old mother and grown woman), and then the interrogation should have started.
Now that girls are walking out of the stronghold by themselves, perhaps the soldiers strapped with their armour tanks and bullet proof vests (that’s if Dasuki agreed to buy any) might learn a thing or two about how to host the rescue mission.
I understand that the Boko Haram fighters would not have been as aliens to these girls. They would have looked like them, spoken the same language with the Chibok girls, might well have treated them kindly with food and drink – surely it is easier to tempt someone with sugar than it is to tempt with vinegar – and over time, these young impressionable girls might have seen these men as heroes and fighters for their land. I am quite certain that a degree of Stockholm syndrome must have set in.
I do not think the Chibok girls have been kept in cages for the past two years; I’m not even sure that Amina intended to ‘escape’. Perhaps she wandered too close to the edge of the forest and was found.
There will be time enough to worry about nappies and SMA® for the horde of babies that will inevitably come out of the ordeal these girls have gone through. There is now news that yet a second girl has ‘escaped’ the supposedly brutal, death-like grip of the Boko Haram stronghold. Hmmm.
For now, the essential part is for the Nigerian Army to penetrate the forest given the new intelligence they should by now be gathering from the girls and shatter the strongholds of tyranny and terrorism.
- Will Buhari approve the killing of a host of new fathers, rendering so many of the Chibok girls widows so early in their lives?
- Will consideration be given to the growing angst and lack of direction and education in the lives of young Northern men that made them turn to murder and pillaging? Information coming out of ISIS, for example suggests that many of the young fighters are not raging idealists, but young men who are promised a steady wage to send home to their families and plenty to eat and drink.
- Will the root cause of facilitation be addressed – where is all this weaponry coming in from and how do we shut off the flow permanently?
- What will become of the thousands of Northerners whose stories are not as well known as that of the Chibok girls but have lost homes, properties, lands and loved ones since the scourge known as Boko Haram began?
These are pressing questions that Buhari and we as Nigerians will need to answer. Since Buhari does not have any pressing international event that he needs to be at right now, I would rather he disappeared deep into the War Rooms and consult with the Head of Army Staff.
If two can find their way out, we can get 200 girls out.
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